Posted by: Lisa Hill | December 5, 2019

2019 Deborah Cass Prize winner

The winner of the 2019 Deborah Cass prize has been announced.  The winner receives a cash prize of $3,000 plus a three-month mentorship with an established writer. The winning manuscript is presented to Black Inc. publishers for consideration, with the winning excerpt published in Mascara Literary Review. The award package is designed to help an early-career writer finish their manuscript and get their book published.

The Prize honours the life and work of the late legal academic and occasional writer, Deborah Cass. The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Deborah became a prize-winning professor of International Law at the London School of Economics before her death to cancer in 2013.  (Deborah Cass Prize for Writing website).

The following is from the press release, with thanks to Dan Cass  on behalf of the Deborah Cass Prize committee:

The winner of the 2019 Deborah Cass Prize for migrant writing is Janette Chen, for her story, ‘Wall of Men’.

Runners-up are Anna Kortschak for her story, ‘Pieces of Nothing’, and Belinda Paxton for ‘Clinging to Space Hardware’.

Judges Melanie Cheng and Lee Kofman praised Janette for her ‘mastery of the short story form, including her capacity to write a good ending, something that can be hard to do in short stories’. One judge said, ‘There are too many earnest works published in Australia. An effortless sense of humour permeates this story, as well as a complex sense of psychology and of a woman’s sexuality.’

The judges cited Anna Kortschak’s ‘poetic and distinct voice. She has a really rich story to tell, which she approaches from a lot of interesting angles.’ They also praised Belinda Paxton’s rich and poetic prose, innovative structure, avoidance of cliché, and the situating of her story in an arresting historical context.

Congratulations to the winner and the runners-up!


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